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Renewable energy –Time for action-Boylan

19 July, 2011 - by Cathal Boylan

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, Cathal Boylan MLA (Newry/Armagh) has called for action on development of an all-Ireland Renewable Energy Strategy.

Cathal Boylan said:

“It is time that the Dublin government and the Executive take seriously the need for renewable energy development. Delivery of renewable energy sources needs to be substantially increased if we are to free ourselves from the burden of greed being displayed by multi-national oil conglomerates and the damage to the environment caused by fossil fuels. Realistic targets need to be set by both administrations for the progressive provision of energy from renewable sources to replace fossil fuels. The targets should send a clear signal about the scale of our renewable energy ambitions and commitment.

“But in setting targets we need to clearly define environmental and planning guidance in advance. And if we are serious about fully exploiting the potential of renewables we need to look at it in an all-Ireland context. I believe that Ireland as an island with access to an abundance of renewable energy sources from wind, wave and tidal power – none of which respects borders - could become a net exporter of energy.

“Previous Irish governments have squandered the economic potential of the gas and oil reserves, handing huge profits to multi-national giants at the expense of the Irish taxpayers. In fact, Stat Oil delivered more benefit to the Norwegian people from Irish gas reserves than successive Irish governments did to the Irish people.

“As part of the planning for environmentally friendly delivery of renewable energy sources, I would urge the establishment of an all-Ireland Energy Commission to bring forward clearly defined development plans to both the Irish government and the Executive for an all-Ireland Sustainable Renewable Energy Strategy. This would ensure that partisan political considerations would play no part in sustainable development of natural sources of energy.

“Government incentives should be made available for the development of prototype designs to harness the power of the Atlantic to supply electricity to Irish homes and business. It is estimated that marine energy could eventually supply up to 10% of the world's electricity needs. Ireland with its wave and wind power resources has massive potential to be a major generator and exporter of renewable energy.

“In order to maintain long-term sustainability of energy supply and a prosperous, healthy and safe environment we must embrace the need to move away from the use of fossil fuels. Always mindful that we have a responsibility to protect our environment for future generations, we must ensure that all of our actions take account of the economic, social and environmental consequences.”

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